Games

The Walking Dead: The Final Season's Launch Trailer Looks Back At The Start Of The Journey

Game Informer News Feed - Sat, 08/11/2018 - 00:05

The Walking Dead: The Final Season is out in just a few days, which means the shambling corpses are heading right for you.

Clementine can never forget the lessons Lee taught her about surviving and now she acts as the guardian for AJ as Lee did for her. Check out the trailer below.

The Walking Dead: The Final Season's first episode releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on August 14.

Categories: Games

The Quiet Man Is Three Hours Long And Utterly Nuts In This New Footage

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 08/10/2018 - 21:10

One of the most bizarre announcements at Square Enix's E3 conference was The Quiet Man. In a trailer that blended live action with a few seconds of punching-filled gameplay, the game posed about four thousand questions and answered none of them. But in a surprise reveal, Square Enix showed off more than 40 minutes of the game and blew our cumulative minds. 

The Quiet Man is being developed by Human Head studios, who are best known for 2006's Prey. It looks absolutely absurd. Here's some details we picked up from the demo and producer Kensei Fujinaga's commentary.

Length

The game is roughly three hours long. 

"However you look at it, it will never be an opulent and ornate treasure box, sparking with all the colors of the rainbow," Fujinaga says. "However, if this tiny, tiny stone that represents a frankly disproportionate level of challenge and experimentation from my modest team, can shine brightly like a diamond in the hearts of our players out there, I would safely say that there could be no greater joy for us than that."

It will be priced lower than a full retail release.

Story

The narrative will follow Dane, a deaf young man who's attempting to find a kidnapped dancer. As implied in the reveal trailer, The Quiet Man mixes its gameplay with live-action cutscenes. In one scene, the screen turned blue and an FMV face covered some of the punching action.

Also, a gangster killed Dane's mom. This presumably fits into the story somehow. Most of the characters shown seem to be a Japanese interpretation of America's criminal underbelly, replete with racial stereotypes and over-the-top costuming. 

Gameplay

In deadly silence, Dane martial-arts his way through several rooms of goons. Much of the combat seems to center on finishing moves that defy all laws of physics, such as flipping a dude 180 degrees before punching him in the mouth. In one scene, he seems to die, only to wake up to a real-life woman smiling at him. The checkpoint then reloads; it's incredibly jarring. 

Sections of the game also place Dane in slower situations in which he walks around an environment and looks at objects. 

The Quiet Man's appears to be following in the footsteps of Deadly Premonition; relentlessly weird and more than a little janky, but with an absolutely sincere charm. Although Dane's haircut looks like it wants to speak to a manager and the story embraces the most offputting parts of Quantum Break, the game has all the makings of a true cult classic.

It's currently in development for PS4 and PC.

[Source: Destructoid] 

Categories: Games

Doom Eternal First Look: A Bigger, Badder, Bloodier Demon Fest

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 08/10/2018 - 19:45

Id Software’s new vision for Doom debuted at QuakeCon in 2014. As imps and demons were torn to shreds with bullets and chainsaws, the crowd roared in approval, and clearly wanted to see more.

Flash forward four years, and the bloodthirsty cry for more was answered: id once again gave QuakeCon attendees the first look at Doom Eternal, the next chapter in the studio's flagship series.

Id's Marty Stratton and Hugo Martin took to the stage with heavy metal blaring as loudly as the crowd's screams. Stratton was taken aback by the crowd's enthusiasm, giving them a, "F--- yeah. You guys are unbelievable. It's awesome to be back here."

The Doom Eternal presentation began with concept art that showed the Doom slayer’s new look, which includes armor tweaks and new tools. Stratton said id's focus was making this interpretation of the slayer the most powerful hero the studio has ever created.

As you can see, the slayer boasts modified armor with extendable blade, spikes on the gloves, an over-the-shoulder attachment (which can equip flamethrowers, missiles, and grenade launchers), and just as much green as he's always worn. His boots also grant him the ability to perform a new omnidirectional dash maneuver to give him a little burst of speed when he needs it.

While he looks like a formidable killing machine with nothing in his hands, id has developed plenty of new and updated weapons for him to wield. The return of the Super Shotgun was greeted with a cheer, which now has a Meat Hook below its barrels. The Meat Hook isn't just used to stab enemies in the face; it functions like a grapple that allows players to latch onto something at a great distance and pull the slayer closer to it. The momentum of that pull can propel him in different directions, allowing for vast amounts of space to be gained in the air.

Other new armaments include a handheld ballista, a redesigned rocket launcher, a plasma rifle, and something called the Crucible Sword. What will the Doom slayer use them against? Martin says this sequel boasts twice as many enemies as the previous game. Along with a host of demons we've never seen before, id is bringing back the Pain Elemental, Arachnotron, and Archvile, to name a few. One of the new beasts is named the Marauder, and Martin teased that he looks like the Doom slayer for a reason. The level of detail in each of these creatures is impressive, as are their death animations, which now unfold through new technology id calls "Destructible Demons." In a series of stills, we could see how taking bullets incrementally affects a demon's limbs, skin, and organs.

 

The new gameplay demo begins on a familiar note: With the slayer putting on his helmet. We then see him test out his blade by extending it for a second before retracting it. As he moves forward, it becomes quickly apparent we aren't in hell anymore. The fires are now on Earth tearing apart one of its cities. Skyscrapers lay in ruin, and demons are everywhere, even descending from the skies.

The first few minutes of action play out like a greatest hits reel from the previous game, showing the slayer unloading clips into slow-moving demons, and periodically rushing in to decapitate one or feed it its own heart as a meal. The fluidity of play is impressive, holding true to the 60 frames per second that id achieved in the original. The environment is wide open and vertical, allowing for the Meat Hook to be used to reach higher areas and stretch across fiery pits. We even see the slayer launch into the air, grab onto a yellow pipe for a split-second, and swing to another area. The gunplay seems rote at this point, but the slayer's range of mobility impresses, and he can even make new paths for himself by punching through walls or scurrying up them with his new gloves.

While the gunplay looks fun, the most interesting elements that occur during it are the little things, like the periodic flamethrower burst from his shoulder attachment, which stuns a couple of enemies, allowing for ammo to be sprayed at them safely. The glory kills are as violent as always, but none of the executions were radically different than stuff we saw in the last game. Heads go flying, bodies are split in two in a variety of ways, and a stern punch can splatter brains. The most interesting glory kills incorporated the slayer's new blade, which in one instance doubled as a skewer for a heart. You also don't seem to be rewarded with as much ammo or health for performing glory kills; the only pinata like effect we saw happened when the slayer ripped through an enemy with his chainsaw.

As fast-paced as the action was, id revealed that it was being played on a controller, and then showed what that same area and combat could look like when turned up a notch while being played on a keyboard and mouse. The heavy metal intensified and the bodies hit the floor at an almost hilarious speed.

 

This second playthrough also teased something new in an "Invasion" alert that appeared on the screen. Invasions allow you to enter another player's game as a demon. You can even invite a few of your friends to enter someone else's game together as a slayer hunting party.

Stratton said that the game won't just be set on Earth and Hell, and teased much more. "We're not just making a Doom game anymore. We're making a Doom universe," he said. One of these new destinations is Phobos, a technologically advanced place that houses a giant skyscraper-sized version of the BFG called the BFG 10,000.

When the slayer arrives on Phobos, the people running the station are in awe of him. They back away, murmuring how he shouldn't be there, and one guy is so speechless that he doesn't say anything when the slayer grabs the red keycard from around his neck and drags him in his wheeled chair to open a door. The slayer also silently takes a weapon out of the hands of a soldier. He apparently has quite the reputation here.

The Phobos area delivered more of the frenzied combat Doom is known for. The demonstration ends with a tease of a boss battle and the promise of a new weapon being used to tear this foe wide open – the Crucible Blade.

Doom Eternal doesn't have a release date or window yet, but is in development for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch. Let's hope this means the Switch version will launch alongside the others this time.

The crowd at QuakeCon ate up the violence again, but the cheers weren't as loud as in 2014. The shock factor just isn't there: id isn't reinventing the formula again. The roar of approval had more of a tone of "I can't wait to get my hands bloody in this world again,” and that's exactly what id is inviting players to do.

You can check out the extensive footage in the video below starting at 1:10:56.

 

Categories: Games

Frantic New Rage 2 Gameplay Emerges From QuakeCon

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 08/10/2018 - 17:53

During today's QuakeCon 2018 keynote, Avalanche and Bethesda showed off fresh gameplay for the upcoming first-person shooter Rage 2.

Set 30 years after the events of the first game, Earth is beginning to return to its previous state, springing back to life after the cataclysmic events that preceded the initial title. While the weapons, abilities, and wingsticks steal the show in the new gameplay trailer, we also get a look at the new Goon Squad faction, as well as our first glimpse of an intense convoy takedown. You can see the new gameplay for yourself below.

Rage 2 launches PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in spring 2019. For our recent hands-on impressions of Rage 2 from E3, watch our discussion here.

Categories: Games

How Lara Croft Has Evolved In Shadow Of The Tomb Raider

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 08/10/2018 - 14:02

Jill Murray is new to the Tomb Raider series. She previously worked on games like Moon Hunters, Lawbreakers, and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. But now that Murray is lead writer on Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the process of designing a world-spanning adventure feels different.

“Well, first of all, only this game has Lara Croft. Obviously, it’s a huge honor to work on a character with such a lengthy history that spans decades,” Murray says. “She is so strong. She can handle a lot of challenge. With this game, sometimes unwittingly, she becomes her own worst enemy because she is so strong. Our antagonist in this game is a really interesting person, but in a way it's unnecessary to challenge Lara Croft, because Lara Croft is going to create her own challenges by always going so hard and obsessively and stubbornly on everything.”

At the same time, a lot of Lara’s strength has been earned. As fans of the series know, the last two Tomb Raider games put Lara Croft through the ringer. The internet is full of videos of the many ways Lara can meet a grizzly demise, but Murray hopes to flip that narrative in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. While there will still be several opportunities for Lara to reach an untimely end in Shadow, she also won’t get beat up as much over the course of this new campaign. This change represents how Lara has grown and evolved since the series reboot back in 2013. Lara Croft has gone through a baptism of fire and become a capable survivor/hunter.

“In the previous games, Lara was constantly falling because that was the only way we had, at the time, to go down,” says Murray. “So we had to have her fall because there were no mechanics to go down. Now we have a rappel system, we have underwater sequences where she can go down, and all these elements going down, so things are much more elegant and she's much more self-controlled. She's much more mobile with the world, but she's still doing these crazy things.”

Shadow of the Tomb Raider has no shortage of crazy moments. Our previous tastes of the action have seen Lara swing off the sides of cliff walls, crawling through collapsing tunnels, and falling out of the sky after a plane breaks in half. We’re happy to see how the character has evolved into a more capable hero, but we’re confident that she won’t make it through this next adventure without a few bruises. Shadow of the Tomb Raider launches on September 14 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

 

For more on Shadow of the Tomb Raider be sure to read about Eidos Montreal’s insanely clever difficulty system or watch us play nearly 30 minutes of the final build.

Categories: Games

Exploring Shadow Of The Tomb Raider’s Insanely Clever Difficulty System

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 08/10/2018 - 14:01

The three major pillars of the Tomb Raider series are exploration, combat, and stealth, but chances are that you have a harder time engaging with one of those segments more than the others. In a clever move, developer Eidos Montreal has fragmented the difficulty settings so Shadow of the Tomb Raider players can individually adjust the challenge for each gameplay pillar. For example, if you enjoy puzzles but want to cruise through the combat sequences, you can kick up the difficulty of the puzzles and decrease the challenge of the combat. To better understand how this mechanic works, we sat down with Shadow of the Tomb Raider game director Daniel Bisson.

“This game, in general, is harder [than past Tomb Raider titles] and we want to make sure that people can tailor the difficulty based on their play style,” says Bisson. “Because we feature three different gameplay types, it's a very difficult game because you have puzzles, traversal, and combat and each of them needs to be balanced.”

When most games adjust difficulty, they really only throttle the difficulty of combat, but Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s difficulty settings also effects its puzzles and exploration, and since you can set them individually it's easy to tailor a game experience that fits your preference. During a recent hands-on session, I adjusted the difficulty of puzzles and noticed that it affected the amount of time Lara had to react to time sequences. For example, on easy I had more time to run through a door after hitting a switch. Additionally, when I activated Lara’s hunter mode – which highlights important objects in the environment – she offered useful hints and tips on how to complete a certain puzzle. However, on harder difficulties, Lara offers fewer and fewer hints and the path through a level becomes less highlighted.

“In hard, all the white paint that tells players were to go is completely gone,” says Bisson. “The normal difficulty on Rise of the Tomb Raider’s traversal is equivalent to the easy version on Shadow. We wanted to adjust that because it got to the point where people were just following the white paint and it wasn’t very interesting. We want people to lose themselves for hours in there, and by taking out some of that white paint we’re finding that people are discovering things in the world that the might not have found otherwise.”

This approach to exploration actually improved my experience with the game’s early hours. Over the last few years, I’ve grown tired of exploring in games like Tomb Raider and Uncharted because the path forward often feels too obvious – I often feel like the developers are holding my hands through a game because the path forward is painted into the world. Players who are happy with this approach can play Shadow of the Tomb Raider on the easy exploration setting and have that familiar experience. Those who want an old-school experience that doesn’t feature any environmental paint can play on hard. Personally, I feel like Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s normal difficulty does a good job of subtly blending the white paint cues into the environment in a way that isn’t immediately noticeable. This meant that I had to occasionally hunt around for the next place to go, but I never grew frustrated and lost.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s difficulty settings are pretty nifty and I hope that other games take this approach of fracturing the various aspects of gameplay into different difficulties. We’ll see if this approach takes off after Shadow of the Tomb Raider launches on September 14 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

 

For more on Shadow of the Tomb Raider be sure to read about how Lara Croft has evolved for this entry or watch us play nearly 30 minutes of the final build.

Categories: Games

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Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 22:55

Square Enix has announced that American owners of Dragon Quest XI will find some equipment in their starting bag that hits Dragon Quest fans right in the nostalgia. You can dress Dragon Quest XI's Luminary in the clothes of Dragon Quest VIII's hero from the get-go.

When you start Dragon Quest XI, you'll find two items in your bag: Trodain bandanna and Trodain togs. Putting on these two items named after the pivotal castle town in Dragon Quest VIII gets you Eight's clothes, though they're just clothes, so you're still the Luminary. The clothes are slightly better than your starting kit otherwise, but won't last you the whole game. However, you will get a recipe to create more powerful versions of the clothes for late game content.

You can check out the trailer for the costume below.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age releases on PlayStation 4 and PC on September 4. A Nintendo Switch version of the game will be arriving later, though Square Enix has not indicated when.

Categories: Games

Eight Reasons To Be Excited For World Of Warcraft: Battle For Azeroth

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 22:24

World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth expansion arrives next week, and with it comes a host of new additions to the fantasy MMO. From new PVP and PVE modes to giant frog mounts, we break down the eight most exciting changes coming to World of Warcraft in Battle for Azeroth.

The Story

[SPOILERS for WoW: Legion and Battle for Azeroth follow.]

Battle for Azeroth picks up after World of Warcraft’s previous expansion, Legion, which concluded with the titan-turned-demon Sargeras stabbing a giant sword into the planet Azeroth. The wound caused a powerful material called Azerite to pop up all over the planet. The Horde rushed to obtain it, and the Alliance soon did the same.

As revealed in the recent “Warbringers: Sylvanas” animated teaser, Horde Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner burns Teldrassil, the world-tree home of the Night elves, kicking off the Alliance-Horde conflict in Battle for Azeroth. This particular event has caused some upheaval among Warcraft fans.

The Azerite System

The powerful substance that’s causing Battle for Azeroth’s conflict, Azerite, has important gameplay implications, too. After completing an introductory quest chain, players will obtain the Heart of Azeroth artifact, which they’ll use throughout the expansion to empower certain helms, chest pieces, and shoulder pieces with unique traits. For more info on the Heart of Azeroth, you can read Blizzard’s preview of the artifact.

The Island Expeditions  

Island expeditions take players to the unexplored islands of Azeroth, where a team of three players face off against an opposing team of either other players or “advanced NPC” opponents that take varied approaches to fighting and have more abilities than normal NPCs. The teams race to collect 6,000 Azerite by defeating creatures, mining nodes, and looting chests, all the while fighting with one another.

Each island aspect is randomly generated, meaning players will encounter different events, obstacles, and enemies in each expedition. To read more about island expeditions and about World of Warcraft’s new PVP system introduced in Battle for Azeroth, check out Dan Tack’s hands-on preview of the mode.

The New Zones

Battle for Azeroth introduces six new zones to World of Warcraft – three for the Horde and three for the Alliance. Alliance players journey to the seafaring continent of Kul Tiras, home to the Tiragarde Sound, Drustvar, Stormsong Valley zones. Horde players travel to the troll-dominated Zandalar, where they explore the Zuldazar, Nazmir, and Vol'dun zones. Each of these zones brings plenty of new environments for players to explore and enemies to defeat.

The Unique Themes  

Hand-in-hand with these new zones comes Battle for Azeroth’s distinct area, gear, and enemy themes. The Alliance’s zones are heavily nautical-themed. Players will encounter lush greenery in Stormsong Valley and sailors and pirates in Tiragarde Sound. The perpetually autumnal Drustvar shakes things up as players face off against witches and treant-like creatures in the zone’s spooky forests. If you’ve ever wished World of Warcraft was more like Pirates of the Caribbean or an American folktale, you might want to consider rolling an Alliance character in Battle for Azeroth.

The Horde zones have major prehistoric vibes, with ancient forests and dinosaurs to boot. The Zuldazar zone is the oldest city in Azeroth, and it’s caked in gilded trollish architecture. Nazmir is home to your quintessential prehistoric landscape, full of swamps and towering trees. Vol’dun provides players with an expansive desert full of dino bones and vicious snake people. Troll themed areas are nothing new in World of Warcraft, but this may be the most extensive and fleshed out troll area to date. If you liked the League of Explorers Hearthstone adventure and its Indiana Jones themes, you’ll probably like Zandalar.

Of course, Zandalar’s tone appears significantly darker than League of Explorers – in fact, the expansion as a whole seems to be taking that path. Warcraft’s memey humor will no doubt be present, but the savage blood trolls of Nazmir, the creepy witches of Drustvar, and the expansion’s Warbringers trailers set a pretty serious tone. The expansion’s return to classic Horde versus Alliance conflict has a fairly epic and climactic feeling to it, so it’s no surprise Blizzard is keeping things dark.

The Updated Visuals

Part of the reason all this new content is so exciting is because it continues to use the cartoony,  higher-polygon art style Blizzard has been implementing since Mists of Pandaria (and, to a larger extent, since Warlords of Draenor’s character model updates). A large number of old models are finally getting upgraded to this visual style, and several NPCs are getting updated appearances to reflect Battle for Azeroth’s story events.

You can see the full lists of the NPCs and creatures receiving updates on Wowhead.

The Allied Races  

Players who pre-purchased Battle for Azeroth had the opportunity to unlock four new “allied races” – Void elves, Lightforged dranei, Nightborne, and Highmountain tauren. Battle for Azeroth will add four more races to the game: the Dark Iron dwarves, the Mag'har orcs, the Zandalari trolls, and the Kul Tiran humans. The Zandalari and Kul Tirans won’t be added until sometime after Battle for Azeroth’s launch, but they’ll be worth the wait for their awesome-looking dinosaur and tree-creature druid forms.

Each of the allied races come with their own starting quests, as well as the opportunity to unlock unique “heritage armor” sets.

The Warfront Mode

Warfront is a new PvE mode inspired by Blizzard’s Warcraft 3 RTS. Warfronts pit 20 players against A.I. opponents in large-scale battles for territory, and will allow the Alliance and Horde to alternate control of those territories. According to Polygon, “each player-controlled character acts as a hero would, leading the charge and swinging the battle in your faction’s favor.”

Blizzard community manager Randy “Kaivax” Jordan explains how a Warfront is initiated and completed in this post:

“Here’s an outline of how the cycle works:

  • The Alliance starts with ownership of Arathi Highlands, and Horde players challenge them by contributing professions items, gold, and War Resources to help their faction build up enough strength to attack. This is a region-wide effort.
  • Once enough contributions are supplied by the region, the Warfront: Battle for Stromgarde unlocks and Horde players are able to queue for the experience. This queue remains open for a set duration, allowing players to complete the Warfront on a schedule that works for them.
  • After the Horde attack is complete, the Horde takes control of Arathi Highlands, giving them access to a unique World Boss and a series of rare spawns and other rewards only available during the period when their faction owns the zone.
  • The Alliance then begins contributing resources to challenge Horde control.

The cycle continues perpetually, with each faction competing against the other to gain access more quickly or reduce the enemy team’s access to the zone.”

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth launches August 13 for players in North America. For more on the new expansion, check out the “Warbringers: Jaina,” “Warbringers: Sylvanas,” and “Old Soldier” character trailers, or read Dan Tack’s hands-on preview.

Categories: Games

15 Standout Details From The Red Dead Redemption II Gameplay Trailer

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 20:20

Today the public got its most in-depth look at Red Dead Redemption II to date with a six-minute gameplay trailer that highlighted the many new features coming to Rockstar's first game built from the ground up for the current-generation consoles. The richly detailed world – from striking vistas of pristine landscapes to densely packed shelves in the general store – proved the famed open-world developer is taking its craft to the next level.

The six-minute clip gives us a lot to digest, so we cut up the trailer to highlight the features we're most excited about.

Insanely Detailed Weapons

Max Payne 3 featured some of the most detailed gun design ever seen in third-person shooters, and this aspiration for authenticity carries over to Red Dead Redemption II. In this trailer alone, we see unique reload and shooting animations for revolvers, repeaters, and shotguns. Morgan even takes time to polish one of his six-shooters, giving players a nice view of the weapon detail. Looking at the guns of the fellow outlaws, it looks like some have unique custom handles as well. We hope the gunsmiths let you tailor the look of your firearms.  

 

The Tiny Combat Reticle Returns

Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer the subtly of this small reticle to the giant, complex ones you see in many modern third-person shooters. It keeps the action looking cinematic and also gives you accuracy to the pixel. I'm glad to it carries over from Red Dead Redemption, as well as the X mark on the map that shows you where there are dead bodies to loot.

 

Another Gang Member With Dead-Eye Aim 

It looks like Arthur Morgan is just as talented as his partner in crime, John Marston, when it comes to shootouts. The famed dead-eye system from Red Dead Redemption returns with a new sheen. 

 

Improved Melee Combat

Hand-to-hand combat has never been a focus of Rockstar open-world games, but it looks like Rockstar is taking a major step forward with its fisticuffs in Red Dead Redemption II. In the few fistfights we see in the trailer, you can see block, kick, grapple, and shove mechanics.  

 

Varied, Intricate Vistas

The attention to detail and draw distance in the environments is remarkable in and of itself. Then, consider how many different biomes Rockstar has created in Red Dead Redemption II. In this trailer alone we see a modernizing Blackwater city, dusty cattle towns, bustling villages with abodes sprinkled around the main street, dense forests, mountains covered in deep snow, arid deserts, and everything in between. Each of these looks more lifelike and authentic than the original game thanks to minor details and impressive lighting. To keep the environments front and center, it appears Rockstar has opted for a minimal HUD as well.

 

A Dynamic Ecosystem

Based on this clip, it looks like various wildlife that wanders the vast expanses of open terrain in Red Dead Redemption have their eyes on more than just the humans wandering into harm's way. Various animals square off against each other dynamically, and you may just stumble upon a fight that leaves you a healthy heap of animal skins to sell.

 

A Reactive World

This small clip demonstrates how the world can react to your actions. As Morgan pulls the trigger and downs an enemy by the barn, we see bats disperse from the rooftop. You also get a glimpse of this reactive dynamic in an earlier sequence where Morgan is thrown through a saloon window. He lands in the mud, which leaves his clothing soiled exactly where he landed. As his aggressor approaches in the thoroughfare, a crowd naturally gathers around them to gawk at the fight.

 

A Man and His Horse

Rockstar has previously detailed how it wants to create a strong bond between horse and player in Red Dead Redemption II. We see some of that in action in this trailer, as Morgan takes time to tame a wild stallion, brush his steed, and store extra weapons in his saddlebags. Some horses are better off being used for certain tasks, which should drive a healthy economy if you like taming horses and selling them off for profit. The horse animations look dramatically improved as well; I particularly love the moment where a horse bucks off its rider as Morgan buries a bullet in him. 

 

More Varied Interactions With Strangers

As with Marston in the previous game, you don’t need to make Morgan an irredeemable outlaw. The honor system returns and takes into account how you react to strangers you come across. Sure, you can intimidate witnesses to your crimes or even rob them, but you could also choose to walk away from fights and diffuse tense situations and build relationships instead. This system works both ways, so don’t be surprised if your bad (or good) reputation precedes you as you walk into a new town and are recognized for your past transgressions (or good deeds). 

 

Another Collection Of Interesting Side Characters

Red Dead Redemption boasted several memorable interactions with characters like Nigel West Dickens, Landon Ricketts, and Bonnie McFarlane. This gameplay trailer teases some of the varied personalities we can expect to come across in the follow-up, including what appears to be a man of science, brothel madame, and a man who likes to think of himself as an oilman. 

 

Parlor Games Return

Sometimes you want to take a break from all the gunplay and relax with some good old-fashioned gambling. RDR included era-specific parlor games like liar’s dice, blackjack, poker, and five-finger fillet, so it’s only fitting the next game in the series carries forward that tradition. Here we see Morgan playing cards with some fellow Van der Linde gang members using currency amounts that make way more sense for the time period than the hefty sums gambled in Thieves’ Landing last time around. Perhaps these moments can act as bonding activities (or lead to serious fallout) with your fellow outlaws. 

 

Organic Side Missions

One of the ways Red Dead Redemption stood out from other open-world games was you never had an overwhelming to-do list of side missions. This could be carrying forward in the sequel. As we see Morgan interact with his compatriots, the trailer indicates this is how many side missions may organically arise within the game. The lady putting her hand on Morgan’s also could imply romances may develop among the camp members. 

 

Taking Friends Along For The Ride

Not all activities in Red Dead Redemption II are about living the outlaw life; sometimes you just want to relax (or help out the camp’s food situation) by hunting or fishing. Judging from this trailer, you can invite camp members along for these activities should you want some company. 

 

Enjoying Camp Life

In addition to performing various tasks to keep the camp running, you can also enjoy some downtime with your partners in crime. These moments may provide an incentive to rush back to camp every night to hear character backstories or enjoy some song and dance in between all the gunfights and heists. We even see a happy young family sitting around the campfire that appears to be John Marston, Abigail, and young Jack.  

 

Living On The Run

With lawmen and bounty hunters always in pursuit, the Van der Linde gang can't stay in one place too long before finding a new place to hide. The trailer shows the outlaws picking up camp and moving out. Since they have some big wagons in the cavalcade, it appears the group is at great risk of ambush during these sequences. I'm curious to see how much say the player has in where they decide to make camp down the road.

Categories: Games

Watch The Red Dead Redemption II Gameplay Trailer Here

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 16:00

This is the moment you've all been waiting for – the Red Dead Redemption II gameplay trailer. After teasing the gorgeous open world, characters, and plot, Rockstar is finally ready to give you a larger glimpse at how the game looks with a player controlling the sticks. 

Watch here:

Red Dead Redemption II is scheduled to release on October 26 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. 

Categories: Games

Both Persona Dancing Games Coming Out Earlier Than Expected

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 15:21

Earlier this year, Persona fans the world over started to get their groove on when news hit that dancing spin-off titles for both Persona 3 and 5 were due out next year. It looks like they have even more reason to get excited now: Atlus has apparently pushed the release date for both games to December 4, 2018.

The company made the announcement with new trailers for Persona 5 Dancing Star Night and Persona 3 Dancing Moon Night, which you can watch here:

For more on Persona and dancing, you can check out our review of Persona 4: Dancing All Night right here.

Categories: Games

Mega Evolutions In Action In New Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! Trailer

Game Informer News Feed - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 15:08

The latest trailer for Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! not only shows off Vermilion City, but also Mega Evolutions, which were discussed in Japanese magazine CoroCoro yesterday.

The trailer below shows of Mega versions of Charizard, Blastoise, and Venusaur, as well as an encounter with Team Rocket, gym leader Lt. Surge, and the S.S. Anne.

For more on the game, take a look at our hands-on impressions here and here.

Categories: Games

Unavowed Review: Dressed To Possess

Gamespot News Feed - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 04:00

Unavowed sounds straightforward on paper. It's a classic-style point-and-click game about demonic possession set in New York City with people to talk to, and puzzles to solve. However, as you get to know its characters and fall further into its mystery, it becomes increasingly clear that Unavowed is much more than it appears: it's a brilliantly written adventure that makes you care deeply about its inhabitants and subverts your expectations.

Many tales involving demonic possession typically conclude with the entity being banished from its host, but in Unavowed, this is where the story begins. Your character wakes up on a rain-soaked Brooklyn rooftop with a hazy memory, surrounded by people you've never met. To your horror, they inform you that you've spent over a year slaughtering people throughout New York and there's a citywide manhunt for your capture. They are the Unavowed: an ancient, hidden order of demon-hunters dedicated to protecting the city from all kinds of supernatural threats. With the spirit seemingly gone, you join their ranks and work to piece together the what, how and why of your demon's bloody murder spree across the city.

It's a good setup for any mystery, but Unavowed sets itself apart with charismatic, fascinating characters and stellar writing. From the members of the Unavowed to bystanders you encounter on street corners, every inhabitant of this version of New York is a compelling character study. A struggle with alcoholism, the burden of generational history, and deep sadness of personal obligations are some of the powerful ingredients that are deftly woven into future quests and conversations in ways that organically reveal themselves to be integral to the game's fiction.

For your own character, three origin stories--bartender, actor, or cop--factor into your interactions. Not only does this change how you're able to interact with people in certain situations, but entire sections of the game will be entirely unique based on your initial choice. There's a surprising replayability to Unavowed--on my second playthrough as an actor, I experienced numerous conversations and encounters that I had no idea even existed the first time around as a bartender, and these lent new perspectives to the overarching narrative.

As you recruit and develop relationships with your team members, they'll quickly grow into well-rounded characters, complete with their own fears, desires, and vexes. These personalities are fleshed-out through incredible writing and voice-acting that genuinely conveys a human experience. It's a strength that permeates the dozen or so hours of the game; their individual histories and shared trauma inform how they interact with you, the world, and each other. In Unavowed, getting drawn into a lengthy conversation is a joy.

But it is the overall mystery that is at the forefront of your adventure here. Investigations lead you all over the city--Brooklyn, Staten Island, Chinatown, Wall Street, The Bronx--and locations are beautifully realized in the colorful 2D artwork. As you progress, you'll need to navigate delicate relationships with business owners and neighbors as you journey to discover the true intention of your ex-demon, who has been manipulating the fear and anguish of these same people.

You'll also need to solve puzzles to defend yourself against ghosts, release tormented souls, and uncover layers of the mystery. The quests you're tasked with are varied and often unpredictable. You might be trying to decipher a hand-written code for an office keypad one minute, and trying to release an interdimensional dragon before it devours you the next. Some puzzles are satisfying to solve through deductive reasoning, and others serve as narrative tools that absorb you into the story. A number of branching choices also arise throughout the game, and they never feel fleeting--even the smallest moments often prove to be consequential in some respect. In addition, because you're limited in only taking two members of your team on any given mission, you have to weigh your choices carefully. Who you bring impacts your puzzle-solving and dialogue options, as well as possible outcomes based on a character's history with an area, their individual talents, and the existing relationships they may have with people you encounter--the number of possibilities here is impressive.

But Unavowed's greatest strength is that it maintains an admirable focus on incredible characterization that feeds into every quest and conversation. Every question you ask, every decision you make, and every sacrifice you make carries you and your team members on an impassioned journey that epitomizes the best qualities of an adventure game. It never rests on tropes, a strong sense of empathy is present through its entirety, and not only do you come to wholly understand character motivations, the way these people deal with supernatural situations helps to build a bond between them and you as a player. From its wonderfully realized locations and its inviting, three-dimensional characters, Unavowed will have you eager to discover the captivating stories lurking in the demonic underworld of New York City.

Categories: Games

<p>We already knew that Super Smash

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 17:44

We already knew that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is going all in with the characters and stages included. While we knew Nintendo was having fun with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's soundtrack since the reveal at E3 this year, series director Masahiro Sakurai dropped a ton of new information during today's Nintendo Direct.

Sakurai stated there are more than 800 tracks on the soundtrack, but if you include menu music and fanfare, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate features more than 900 compositions. Sakurai also claimed that you if played all the music in Ultimate back to back, it would take 28 hours to get through all of it.

Like the Wii U and 3DS versions, you can select the tracks you want to play on each stage, and how frequently you want to hear them. However, this time around, you can select any tracks from the series, rather than the tracks for that particular game. This means that if you want to hear Wind Waker tracks on the Breath of the Wild stage, you can do that.

You can also listen to these tracks outside of the stages by accessing the Sound Test menu. There, you find the tracks sorted by game series for ease of browsing. Players are also able to create their own playlists, which is handy for a feature Ultimate borrows from the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros.: the ability to listen to the soundtrack even if the screen is off. This means that you can plug headphones into your Switch and listen to songs in handheld mode without having to leave the screen on.

If you want to listen to some samples of the soundtrack, you can head to the official site by clicking here. Sakurai says the team will continue adding new selections from the soundtrack every week in the lead up to launch. You can also listen to a few selections below.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate launches on December 7 on Nintendo Switch.

Categories: Games

<p>During today's Nintendo Direct

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 16:17

During today's Nintendo Direct focused on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, series director Masahiro Sakurai went over several details. One of the most impressive details involved how many stages this massive version of Nintendo's crossover fighter will contain.

A comparison graphic used by Nintendo to demonstrate how many stages have appeared in each entry of the Super Smash Bros. series

According to Sakurai, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate features 103 distinct stages. Each stage can be transformed into Battlefield and Omega forms, and every stage can be used in 8-player battles. In addition, all stages are available from the very beginning, so you don't need to unlock them.

Players can also toggle whether they want stage hazards to be active during any given battle. In addition, if you select the "Stage Morph" option before a battle, you can select two stages that the battlefield will transform between over the course of the fight.

With so many stages, the team decided to order them chronologically based on when they were introduced into the Super Smash Bros. series.

In addition to the stages we already knew about, Sakurai introduced several fan favorites that are returning for Ultimate.

 

The following stages were confirmed to come back for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

  • Great Bay
  • Shadow Moses
  • Living Room
  • Gaur Plain
  • Figure-8 Circuit
  • Flat Zone X
  • Pokémon Stadium
  • Garden of Hope
  • Brinstar Depths
  • Summit
  • Unova Pokémon League
  • Magicant
  • Gamer
  • Final Destination

In addition, Nintendo revealed New Donk City Hall from Super Mario Odyssey. The stage begins at ground level before scaling the tower with rising platforms. The musicians you collect in that Kingdom in Super Mario Odyssey also appear in the stage, and it appears that if you hit them and Pauline, the vocal rendition of "Jump Up, Superstar!" plays.

Sakurai says that the team worked hard to modernize the look and balance of returning stages, but for stages from the original Super Smash Bros., the team tried to keep them as faithful in both look and design to the original version as possible to prioritize nostalgia. You can see some examples below.

 

Super Smash Bros. is set to launch on December 7 for Nintendo Switch. For more announcements from this Direct, check out the announcements of Simon and Richter Belmont, Dark Samus and Chrom, and King K. Rool. Also be sure to check out our roundup of a ton of miscellaneous information from the Nintendo Direct.

Categories: Games

Shovel Knight, Rathalos, And More Debut As Assist Trophies In Smash Bros. Ultimate

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 15:50

Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai showed off a few more assist trophies in today's Direct, confirming some new crossovers for the game and also a few new trophies from Nintendo's history.

Assist trophies are basically non-playable fighters that can be summoned into battle. When a player grabs one, it summons an AI-controlled fighter who can be attacked and knocked out for points by other players, but also performs their own attacks. In the E3 Direct, Assist Trophies like the returning Waluigi were shown off, but also new crossovers like Hudson's Bomberman.

Here's a list of what was shown today:

  • Zero from Mega Man X
  • Knuckles from Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Klaptrap from Donkey Kong Country
  • Kapp'n from Animal Crossing
  • Chef Kawasaki from Kirby
  • Gray Fox from Metal Gear Solid
  • Nikki from Flipnote
  • Shovel Knight
  • The Moon from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
  • Rathalos from Monster Hunter

While some of them just come out and attack, a few have special properties. Kapp'n drives a bus through the stage, Chef Kawasaki cooks the opponents like Kirby's Final Smash in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Nikki draws things on the stage to hurt opponents, Shovel Knight attacks enemies and digs up food, and the Moon crashes into the entire stage.

Additionally, Rathalos is both a boss in the Monster Hunter stage and an Assist Trophy, the first of its kind in the series.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate releases for the Nintendo Switch on December 7.

Categories: Games

<p>Nintendo revealed a lot of new Super

Game Informer News Feed - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 15:35

Nintendo revealed a lot of new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate details this morning. Here is the full round-up of what we learned.

  • King K. Rool from Donkey Kong Country will be a fighter in the game.
  • Dracula's Castle is a new stage and it will include bosses and items from the Castlevania series.
  • 34 music tracks from Castlevania are being produced for the game.
  • Great Bay from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask will be a stage in the game.
  • Shadow Moses from Metal Gear Solid will be a stage in the game.
  • Living Room from Nintendogs will be a stage in the game.
  • Gaur Plains from Xenoblade Chronicles will be a stage in the game.
  • Figure-8 Circuit from Mario Kart will be a stage in the game.
  • Flat Zone X from Game & Watch will be a stage in the game.
  • Pokémon Stadium will be a stage in the game.
  • Garden of Hope from Pikmin will be a stage in the game.
  • Brinstar Depths from Metroid will be a stage in the game.
  • Summit from Ice Climber will be a stage in the game.
  • Unova Pokémon League will be a stage in the game.
  • Magicant from Earthbound/Mother 2 will be a stage in the game.
  • Gamer from Game & Wario will be a stage in the game.
  • Final Destination (surprise!) will be a stage in the game.
  • New Donk City from Super Mario Odyssey will be a stage in the game.
  • There will be 103 stages in the game.
  • There will be an option to make stages change in the middle of a fight.
  • There will be more than 800 music tracks in the game.
  • Including menu music and other assorted sound cues, that number bumps up to over 900.
 
  • There will be 28 hours of music in the game.
  • A sound test will be available and usable with the screen turned off in handheld mode.
  • You select rules first, then stage, then fighters.
  • Stamina battle will now be treated as one of the standard modes.
  • In sudden death, the camera now moves in to make everything more intense.
  • You can select the option for everyone's Final Smash to be connected to a charge meter, but players will not be able to execute Final Smashes simultaneously.
  • There will be a mode that eliminates players as selectable fighters as you move through matches.
  • There will be built-in tournament options.
  • Training mode will have an exclusive stage that will feature lots of additional details about what is happening, like meters that show where fighters will potentially land at different hit percentages.
  • Single-player mode is called Classic Mode and it will feature specific fights and stages for each fighter.
  • There is a new item that looks like a gun but fires a single bullet.
  • There is a new sword item called the killing edge.
  • There is a new type of bomb item.
  • Death's Scythe is a new item and it will deliver an instant K.O..
  • There is a staff that shoots magic that will do more damage the farther away it is.
  • There is an evil mushroom that will reverse your opponent's controls.
  • The Rage Blaster will do more damage depending on your damage percentage.
  • Alolan Exeggutor is now a Pokémon in the game. You can climb it.
  • Abra is now a Pokémon in the game. It creates a black hole.
  • Solgaleo is now a Pokémon in the game.
  • Lunala is now a Pokémon in the game.
  • Mimikyu is now a Pokémon in the game. He eats people.
  • Pyukumuku is now a Pokémon in the game.
  • Vulpix and Alolan Vilpix are now Pokémon in the game. One has a fire attack, one has ice.
  • Marshadow is now a Pokémon in the game.
  • Ditto is now a Pokémon in the game. It copies other fighters and takes their form.
  • Alucard from Castlevania is now an an Assist Trophy.
  • Zero from Mega Man X is now an Assist Trophy.
  • Knuckles from Sonic the Hedgehog is now an Assist Trophy.
  • Krystal from Star Fox Adventures is now an Assist Trophy.
  • Klaptrap from Donkey Kong Country is now an Assist Trophy.
  • Kapp'n from Animal Crossing is now an Assist Trophy.
  • Chef Kawasaki from Kirby is now an Assist Trophy.
  • Gray Fox from Metal Gear Solid returns from Brawl to be an Assist Trophy.
  • Nikki from Swapdoodle is now an Assist Trophy.
  • Shovel Knight is now an Assist Trophy.
  • The moon from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is now an Assist Trophy.
  • Rathalos from Monster Hunter is a boss and an Assist Trophy in the game.
  • The main menu will let you access a dashboard of options by hitting the ZR button.
  • A new mode was teased on the main menu, but it was mosaic-ed out and director Masahiro Sakurai said they couldn't talk about it yet.

For more on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, you can read an interview with Nintendo about the game here.

Categories: Games

New Trailer Shows Off Combo Moves In Team Sonic Racing

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 08/07/2018 - 18:17

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is one of the most respected 3D Sonic games. With creative maps and tight kart controls, developer Sumo Digital delivered an unlikely success for a much-maligned franchise. A new trailer for the follow-up title, Team Sonic Racing, shows that the developer isn't content to just make more of the same. 

Team Sonic Racing, as the name suggests, wants players to cooperate with each other so everyone ends up placing well at the finish line. Points are accumulated by the team as a whole, so simply coming in first isn't an assurance of victory. 

A new trailer for the game shows off a number of power-ups and mechanics designed to encourage this sort of team play. Players can give and request items, slingshot around each other, and even smash into each other for a speed boost. Although the kart-racing genre can be formulaic, these additions add a serious layer of strategy to an otherwise reflex-based game. 

We were excited by the game at E3, and these new details are promising as well. Team Sonic Racing will release this winter on Xbox One, PC, Switch, and PS4. 

Categories: Games

Monster Hunter World Review - Deadliest Catch

Gamespot News Feed - Tue, 08/07/2018 - 17:37

While some fans of the series were disappointed when Monster Hunter XX came to the Switch as a Japan-only exclusive, the good news is that we don't have to suffer in region-imposed torture any longer. The latest big fish in the franchise's pond, Monster Hunter World, is finally here, and it blows the previous western releases out of the water.

For seasoned players, the gameplay loop in Monster Hunter World is immediately recognisable. Your job is a cycle that involves crafting weapons, bulking up, killing monsters, and looting them for materials. However, a well-crafted narrative has not traditionally been a part of that gameplay loop, and that may have been a deterrent for those looking for a foothold into the franchise in the past. Luckily for them, the first major point of difference here from the previous mainline titles is the way that the plot and gameplay are grafted together. A spinoff, Monster Hunter Stories, stepped off the beaten track by introducing a simple yet satisfying narrative, and now Monster Hunter World solidifies that step by using the building blocks of previous narrative concepts to deliver a well-paced experience that spends more time focusing on the bigger picture.

While you spend a lot of time chasing an Elder Dragon that wouldn't look out of place in the movie Pacific Rim, Monster Hunter World's choice to integrate Guild and Village quests into one coherent story cuts out any confusion or ambiguity that new players may feel when it comes to figuring out which quests progress your journey. The fact that everything is tuned for a rewarding solo experience is a plus--it's entirely possible to pump through 60 hours of quests without ever interacting with another player online. And when combined with more intelligent monster AI, facing off against a fire-breathing Tyrannosaurus-like creature on your own makes the stakes feel even higher.

On top of the story, which revolves around the mystery of why the aforementioned Elder Dragon has appeared in the game's new region, there have been some quality-of-life changes that ease your transition into the world of monster hunting. Instead of frontloading a lot of text-based tutorials as in previous titles, you now have a Handler who doles out helpful information to you as you progress through zones of increasing complexity. It can feel a bit like having an annoying younger sibling tagging along on otherwise deadly adventures, but her vocal cues and vast knowledge about monster types are helpful when encountering new enemies for the first time. This assistance ceases when you start cutting your teeth on High Rank monsters, but hearing about new skills and immediately putting them into practice in the field is an excellent way to learn about the game from the ground up.

Monster Hunter World feels like an open-world game to some extent, with fantastically large maps of a scale that we haven't seen before (both vertically and horizontally), no discernable game-pausing loading screens between zones in hunting areas, and a wealth of beautifully rendered environments to slaughter colossal monsters in. A helpful addition to this new world is the swarm of scoutflies that serve as a way to track monsters and other objectives.

Navigating the vastness of those areas without scoutflies would have been incredibly tedious. Once you've located a few traces of a monster's path in a zone, your scoutflies automatically track it to its current location. Gather up enough clues over time and soon your insectoid minions will be able to predict where a certain monster is located based on past movements. This is very useful for investigation missions with tight time frames at higher ranks and sticks to your canon characterisation: a seasoned hunter who understands their prey. Except, perhaps, when said prey glitches through two stories' worth of foliage and can't be attacked with any weapons that you've got on hand. Fortunately, those instances are few and far between.

Part of the ability to capitalise on a monster's weakness is the smart use of all the tools in your hunting arsenal, with the most important being your weapon of choice. The Hunter Arts from Monster Hunter Generations have been removed, and the game's focus is solely on your ability to dish out ridiculous amounts of damage using your respective weapon's combo. Light weapons are still the most mobile while the technical weapons are still the most difficult to understand and master, but there are ample opportunities to get experience with whichever blade, bow, or lance you've decided on. Weapon upgrade trees are all viewable at a glance, and the ability to make a wishlist of parts for your next upgrade makes the process more convenient, and helps you decide which expeditions to focus on.

Bowguns in particular have received the most notable facelift: it appears that there has been an effort to mimic the kind of playstyle you'd have in a third-person shooter, and this is most apparent when you're firing from the hip with the light bowgun. That doesn't necessarily change the strategy needed; you'll still have to make effective use of environmental hazards, traps, barrel bombs, and dung in order to chase down your quarry. There are now more ways to get a leg up on monsters, which make combat encounters more accessible to different playstyles. Elemental effects are all the rage once more, with weapons boasting essential new perks that have evolved alongside the enemies that you forge them from, and the benefits of bringing water to a firefight is a lesson you'll learn early.

Of particular necessity is the ability to mount monsters through aerial combos, or through the slightly less coordinated mad scramble off a cliff onto a creature's back; you're given the opportunity to knock a monster down, which will buy you time to slice off a tail or a claw. While the game will reward you no matter what strategies you take, knowing a monster's weak points is still a must if you strive to upgrade your gear. It's best to nail down your favourite weapon in the Arena--a mode where you test your mettle with specific gear against a monster that you've fought before.

Multiplayer integration is, for the most part, seamless. As mentioned above, there's no distinction between Village and Guild quests anymore, so missions can be done alone or with a friend, and you'll both only have to do it once to complete it. You can start a quest alone in an online session and wait for more hunters to pop in to assist. Alternatively, you can seek out an online session for people of a certain hunter rank, and just go along for the ride if they need a hand with anything. The only qualifier is that some story-focused missions require the leader to either watch a cutscene or discover a monster before others can join.

You can be in the same online session as someone else without having to do the quests that they're doing, which is useful for those who might want to keep an eye on a friend who's new to the franchise. Players who are struggling solo can also send out an SOS flare that lets their friends put together a little rescue party to save the day. In the downtime between adventures, you can do anything from arm wrestling to challenging each other's times on the killing leaderboards.

Getting together with your mates takes a couple of extra steps compared to loading into a multiplayer session on the fly with a stranger. To play with friends alone, you’ll have to join in on their fun via the friends list on the console dashboard, or by sharing a 12-digit session ID. In a game that’s all about momentum and sprinting off into the horizon at the next challenge, getting your hunting posse together is manageable but slightly tedious. That being said, a few minutes to specifically set up a multiplayer session doesn’t necessarily make or break the game.

As expected, Monster Hunter World scales the difficulty up if you're not the only one embarking on the quest. Up to four people can go out into the wilderness at once, and the beta experience has already demonstrated to many how exhilarating group combat can be. The more targets available for monsters, the more unpredictable their movements. This means that while you may have more firepower, it can be harder to lock down a monster that's particularly prone to relentless charging or rapid aggression. Luckily, playing with others gives you the opportunity to try out different weapon compositions, and while unusual weapons like the hunting horn might see minimal use in the solo campaign, its sweet, party-buffing tunes and your teamwork abilities will become crucial to helping your friends take down the most savage of beasts.

While it may seem like quite a bit has changed, there's a hell of a lot in Monster Hunter World that's stayed the same. Whether it's the appearance of draconic series regulars like the Rathalos and the Rathian or the presence of tried and true weapons, the roots of the Monster Hunter franchise are strong with its latest release. Apart from the overall sprucing up of graphics and the cutscenes with full voice-over, the standout improvements really come from the simplification of the existing systems in a way that welcomes newcomers without alienating existing fans. A lack of loading screens makes exploration a pleasure, and tracking new and improved monsters through areas as they rank up means that you've got plenty to conquer once the story quests are complete. There may not be any new weapons, and there may be a Hunter Arts-sized hole left in the hearts of players who spent hours getting good at the various Styles. However, the removal of those old mechanics feels less like a funeral and more like a necessary streamlining.

The PC version of Monster Hunter World, on a superficial level, doesn't exhibit any critical differences in performance compared to the console versions of the game. While running on the highest display settings, we noticed a marked amount of pop-in during some of the more graphically intensive cutscenes, but it wasn’t enough to be off-putting. Some trees in the distance take a little longer to come to life, but you’re often too preoccupied with killing a slavering, townhouse-sized animal to care. The Hunters themselves also generally appear to have warmer, more realistic flesh tones on the PC, but the overall difference in aesthetic mileage is otherwise minimal.

One area where the contrast is stark, however, is in multiplayer accessibility. While the PlayStation 4 version had its hiccups with getting the squad together, those aren’t present at all in the PC version, which makes the most of its integration with Steam to get you playing together in under a couple of minutes. It's refreshingly simple compared to laboriously typing out a string of numbers, or fiddling with the PlayStation 4’s subpar native interface.

Another pleasant difference which you’ll notice while preparing for multiplayer missions is the fact that there’s almost no downtime at all. This might vary based on your network and PC, but in our experience the time between posting a quest and having it ready to go when others join was instant. In comparison, the PlayStation 4 version seems to take its own sweet time when preparing quests within both individual and multiplayer sessions. Like the aesthetic differences between platforms, this is relatively minimal in the grand scheme of things. However, an improvement is still an improvement, and the overall quality of life differences in regards to multiplayer on PC are definitely welcome.

In terms of how the game handles mechanically on PC, the answer is positive. While PC ports of console games have the potential pitfalls of unwieldy control schemes and unintuitive keyboard shortcuts, Monster Hunter World has gracefully avoided these. The default keyboard and mouse combination works well, even when stress-tested under combat situations that require plenty of frantic directional and dodge-rolling inputs. Using the mouse to control both attack inputs as well as overall steering took us the length of the tutorial to get used to, but it never presented an issue in itself. There’s no need to play Twister with your fingers to execute deadly combos here, though fans of the controller input will likely gravitate to the same for efficiency at the end of the day.

Ever since the title was first announced, it was clear that Capcom was gunning for something grander than Monster Hunter Generations. It has succeeded, and this is likely the biggest and best that the franchise has ever been. It's not just the comparative depth of the narrative; it also boasts almost seamless integration between combat systems that were previously incomprehensible for amateurs. The Monster Hunter formula has definitely honed its claws, and all the above factors play their part in making Monster Hunter World a meaningful evolution for the series at large.

Editor's note: This review has been updated to include our experience with the PC version of Monster Hunter: World -- August 7, 2018

Categories: Games

NBA 2K19's First Gameplay Trailer Doesn't Hold Back

Game Informer News Feed - Tue, 08/07/2018 - 16:00

NBA 2K19 is looking to bring back some of the skill back to one-on-one encounters, and the new gameplay trailer for the title shows that there's no shortage of talent here.

The standard edition of the game is out on September 11, but if you get the Anniversary edition is available on September 7.

For a full rundown of the title's gameplay, check out these eight big changes, and you can also take a look at Bertz's breakdown of the Franchise modes.

Categories: Games

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